Because of “you-know-who” many international conferences events, including our final ProtectED conference, were cancelled. While many conferences were re-scheduled to the next year, the European branch of Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) decided to transfer the conference to an online event. Bold move!
The 30th SETAC European Meeting then took place in a virtual representation of Dublin’s convention centre, where the original meeting was supposed to take place, from the 3rd to the 7th of May 2020.
So how was attending an online conference you may ask?
I’m not going to lie; it was strange the first hours. However, the online platform was easy to navigate through, there were some live sessions (via Zoom) and multiple chat rooms were available to discuss with other delegates. There were also some “Zoom cafés” organized at the end of each day so you could grab a coffee/beer, log-in to the visio and chat orally with people, almost like in real-life! A big plus point during the conference was that all presentations and posters were available on demand (and it was for sure less stressful for me to record my presentation in advance haha). Discussion sessions were live but also recorded so they could be watched on demand. No need to minute plan your day and no need to make gut-wrenching decisions between attending session 2.05 and 4.01!!
Overall, the SETAC SciCon was a good experience. I can’t imagine how much work it was to fully transfer the event online within such a short time-window (about 4 months) but it was worth it and they 100% succeeded! I believe it also started some discussions whether more conferences should be fully or at least partially taking place online. Which is a very good thing in my opinion (more environment friendly, more affordable, no visa problem…).
Still, I’m looking forward being able to attend physical conferences!